Chapter 28

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Tears streaked down her face. Her lovely face. Kylo just wanted to reach out his hand to console her. But he couldn't. He was a different man now and that meant that he couldn't hold such trivial feelings anymore.

"Where am I?" she had asked.

Kylo wanted to just pour out all his regrets and mistakes with those three shaky words. That was stupid, though. This girl, whoever she was, couldn't possibly evoke such feelings. He had probed her mind earlier and had accidentally seen her dream. There was a horror and feel to it that even he couldn't have conjured. Obviously this scavenger was more like him than he imagined. Something was off about all this, though. It was like he knew  this girl. But of course he didn't. He didn't think so.

_ _ _

Kylo Ren's POV

"You're my guest."

"Where are the others?"

Silly girl.

"You mean the murderers, traitors, and thieves you call friends.g"

It was more of a statement than a question.

"You'll be relieved to hear that I have no idea."

This irked me a little, the fact that I didn't know the whereabouts of her so-called friends. A small grimace crossed the girl's face. I leaned closer to her.

"You still want to kill me?"

Of course she did. Everyone did. The price of being one of the most powerful beings in the galaxy.
I could see the sweat glistening on her forehead.

"That happens when you're being hunted by a creature in a mask."

Fine. I'll play your game.
I reached up to my hood to press the button that would release my helmet. I hesitated for a small moment. But whatever. This girl would be dead anyway.
The helmet was off. I breathed the cold air in deeply. A small relief.

I can better see the surprise in her face. Good. But there's a hint of something else in her eyes. A searching light. I stared back defiantly and she is the first to look away.
I smile and get up to push my helmet onto a tray at the edge of the room.
She is already fidgeting when I return my attention to her.

I need something to break this boring silence.

"Tell me about the droid."

"He's a BB unit with a selenium drive and a thermal hyposcan indic-"

"Its carrying a section of a navigation chart. And we have the rest. Recovered from the archives of the Empire, but we need the last piece. And somehow you convinced the droid to show it to you."

Anger is welling up in my chest. No one plays smart with me and gets away with it. So I added, "You. A scavenger."

The girl squirmed with the anxiety of it all, so I keep going.

"You know I can take whatever I want."

I lean closer. I have the advantage of training on my side. This girl can't escape. The information I need is so close at hand. I'm getting excited with the prospect of it.

I closed my eyes and concentrate, although it doesn't take as much energy as it used to.

"You're so lonely. So afraid to leave."

I pause for an effect.

"At night, desperate to sleep."

She scrunched her forehead in an attempt to block her thoughts, but the more she tries, the more I can see.

"You imagine an ocean. I see it. I see the island."

Where is this going?

Suddenly, Han Solo. How much does this girl really know?  I didn't expect to see him. It took me so long to forget about him. And now he is back to haunt me.

"And Han Solo", I said to her, although it was more like a confirmation for myself.

I steeled myself and probed farther and harder.

"You feel like he's the father you never had. He would have disappointed you."

All these memories was making me more angry. I breathed deeply in and out. I had to control myself or I would never get what I wanted.

"Get out of my head." She says it with conviction, her teeth grated.

"I know you've seen the map. It's in there. And now you'll give it to me."

I'm faced with blank space. This girl, whoever she is, is stronger than she thinks. I'm slightly impressed.

 "Don't be afraid, I feel it too."

"I'm not giving you anything."

"We'll see."

Flames seem to be erupting in me. I've tried to stay calm, but all this has been too much. I push with all I have. I will  get what I want. 

_ _ _

There is a searing pain in her body, as if she was being crushed with tons of pounds of rock. The pain was strongest in her mind, though. This girl is focusing just as hard as he was.

'We seem like we're fighting for the same reasons, but from different origins. '

The tension is beyond measurable. There is a mounting pressure on them as the connectionseemed to falter. The girl was definitely stronger than either of them had imagined. Her whole body is challenging him. An invisible force is building around her, as well as knocking through his walls. He can sense her intrusion. To push her out would be a risk of losing the progress he's made. It is getting harder to break forward. The weight is off her; she is turning it on him.

"You. You're afraid. That you will never be as strong as Darth Vader."

Kylo sucked in a breath. He has failed. This girl has withstood his advances and he has now lost to his insecurity. With some effort, he slammed down his walls to push her away, physically and mentally. Rey just manages to avoid slamming her head into the seat.

Kylo's mind is filled with shock, anger, and a tinge of respect. In the few moments it took him to leave the room, all dark feelings has dissipated.



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